• Johnny Henderson

    Grand Annual Handicap Chase

    11 of the last 12 winners aged between six and nine years

    The last eleven rated between 138 and 152

    This century only three winners with more than 12 chase runs

    Eight from last nine no more than four chase runs that season

    Only one conditional jockey winner this century

    Sky Pirate only winner since 2004 to have won a h'cap chase that season

    No repeat winners since 1959.

    Only one novice winner since 2013. Chosen Mate.

    14 of the last 17 had run at a previous Festival

    Last year's favourite is 3 from 8 that returned during the past 15.

    Only one winner this century had won a chase over further than 2m 3f

    Six of the last seven winners had not been raced for at least 50 days


    Race Distance - 2 miles and abt half a furlong. Numbers allowed to run cut from 24 to 20 in 2019.




    Winner will be aged 7, 8 or 9 years except if older will have been already been placed in this or if younger is from the first 4 in the market. Rated between 138 and 152. Either a course winner or ran at a previous Festival, or the jockey has already had at least two winners today/this week. Novice not rated above 147. Should have finished in the first three in one of the last two starts or placed in this last year. Does not run under a penalty. Has not more than 12 previous runs over fences or previously placed in this. Won’t have run more than 4 times over fences since August. Irish trained punch above their numbers. If English trained is a course winner, Henderson trained or placed in this before. Not ridden by a conditional jockey. JP McManus very much involved but has been stung. Has won over the trip. Has won over 2m 2f or has Graded Nov Hurdle form. Not won a chase in excess of 2m 3f. Check for fancied horses in previous renewals. Not last year's winner. Unlikely to have won a handicap chase this season and h'cap mark has not moved up by much since Oct. May not have been seen for at least 50 days.

  • Honours Board

    Year |||Form |||Winner |||Age |||Weight||| OR||| SP |||Trainer||| Jockey |||Last race (No of days)

    2021 ||| 25112 ||| Shy Pirate ||| 8 ||| 11-6 ||| 152 ||| 14/1 ||| JJ O'Neill ||| N Schofield ||| 2nd Warwick G2 Nov (30)

    2020||| P60341 |||Chosen Mate||| 7 |||11-4||| 147 |||7/2F |||G Elliott(IRE) |||D Russell||| 1st Gowran Beginners (50)

    2019||| 2||| Croco Bay||| 12 |||10-12 |||139||| 66/1 |||B Case||| K Woods||| 2nd Warwick Cl3 H'cap (277)

    2018||| 238 |||Le Prezien |||7||| 11-8||| 150||| 15/2 |||P Nicholls ||| B Geraghty |||8th Chelt G3 Caspian Caviar H'cap 2m 5f (91)

    2017||| 22080||| Rock The World||| 9 |||11-5 |||147||| 10/1 |||J Harrington(IRE)||| R Power |||11th Chelt Cl2 H'cap (146)

    2016||| 33P |||Solar Impulse||| 6||| 11-0 |||140 |||28/1 |||P Nicholls |||S Twiston-Davies||| PU Exeter Cl2 Graduation 2m 1f (92)

    2015 |||604||| Next Sensation |||8 |||11-2||| 143||| 16/1||| M Scudamore |||T Scudamore |||4th Newbury Cl2 H'cap (104)

    2014 |||3439||| Savello |||8 |||11-5||| 147 |||16/1 |||A Martin(IRE) |||D Russell |||9th F'house G3 Dan Moore (54)

    2013||| S312 ||| Alderwood |||9 |||10-11||| 140 |||3/1F |||T Mullins(IRE) |||AP McCoy |||2nd F'house Lstd Dan Moore (40)

    2012 |||1621||| Bellvano |||8 |||10-2||| 138 |||20/1 |||N Henderson||| P Carberry |||1st Cl2 Kelso Nov 2m 1f (30)

  • Evidence


    AGE - Croco Bay, as a gallant 'always prominent' 12 yr old, became the 4th winner of this of the last 24 to be aged 10ys or older. Two 10 yr olds last year unplaced. Nothing older than 8 in the first 11 home last year. Croco and Gino Trail both unplaced 2020 at age 13 yrs Six elder geldings in total tried in 2019, next best to Ben Case's the old boy was ninth. In 2018 nine qualifiers, again Gino Trail an 11 yr old in 2nd and Top Gamble another Kerry Lee inmate and 10 yr old in third. In 2017 four ran best Croco Bay in 5th, only 10 yrs old then, but getting a sighter, obviously. Theinval, 5th in 2020 as a 10 yr old was the oldest horse in the top six. He had been placed in this twice before. Theme there?


    2016 5 ran best Savello (previous winner) in fourth. All unplaced going back to 2013 Oiseau De Nuit 2nd (previous winner). In both '12 and '11, 2 tried, Askthemaster. '09 best was Tramantano 4th at 33s (previously placed in a Greatwood Hurdle). In '08 Tiger Cry won at age 10, ’97 Uncle Ernie at 12 and in ’93 Space Fair at 10. Tiger Cry had been previously placed in this. Both Uncle Ernie and Space Fair had each achieved places in Arkle chases. 80 from last 92 win and placed aged under 10.

    Placed ages last year went 8-7-8-7. Only four runners aged older. In 2020 they were 7-6-7-6. There were only 7 aged under 8 yrs in the 18 strong field and 6 of them finished in the first seven. In Croco's year it was 12-8-8-8-8. In 2018 Le Prezien won as a seven yr old. He was the only six yr old in the 2017 field finishing 8th. Backed down to 7/2 fav. Dolos, also a Nicholls horse was the only five yr old in the 2018 version, 16/1, finished seventh. 2016 Solar Impulse, first 6 yr old since Oh Crick '09 and Edredon Bleu '98 (the latter under a gloriously mad front running AP ride).


    Palarshan '03 at 8/1 only 5 yr old winner since 1954.


    Alderwood was a 9 yr old and previous Festival winner.


    To summarise, all winners bar Croco Bay aged between 6 and 9 yrs in the last 13 renewals.


    IRISH TRAINED - Chosen Mate, Rock The World, Savello, Alderwood, Tiger Cry '08, Fota Island ‘05, and Fadoudal Du Cochet '02 make it seven Irish trained winners in the last 20. Better to say four of the last nine. Six ran last year, the fast finishing JP owned Entoucas just failed to catch Sky Pirate. Next best was Cappucimix in 6th. Five ran in 2020 resulting in a 1-2 for Gordon Elliott. Eclair de Beaufeau 2nd with another Joseph O'Brien plot, Us and Them in 3rd. Only Minds Eye ran in 2019 for Henry de Bromhead, 7/1 PU after a bad mistake 4 out. Four ran in 2018, again best Henry de Bromhead's Three Stars in 5th.


    Arthur Moore's Dandridge was 4th in 2017 behind Rock The World, 10/1 winner. In 2016, 5 ran, Dandridge 8s 2nd and Rock The World 9/2 fav and 3rd. 2015 6 ran, best Ned Buntline, AP's final festival ride 4/1 jt fav and 4th. In 2014 4 ran - Irish 1-2, Savello the final leg of a Gigginstown 4 timer. Alderwood was the only Irish entry in his 2013 winning year, thumped down to 3/1 fav, defeat not being considered there. 2011 Askthemaster only Irish entry 2nd at 50/1. ’07 Ground Ball and ’06 Tiger Cry both placed.


    To summarise that's 7 winners and 12 placed from 66 runners in 20 years (that's 35% of winners, 24% of total places for about 14% of total runners. Sounds like a plan). Besides 2010 (when nobody came), in the last 20, the Irish trained 'race within a race' has been won by the most fancied one on 10 occasions. Not last year, Joseph's other plot, Embittered, 9/2fav 'going easily, fell 9th. Chosen Mate won at 7/2 fav. Arthur Moore trained 2 winners this century with Dandridge running well in successive years.


    Rock The World in 2017 was Jessica's third winner of the week and her first runner since winning the GC with Sizing John. Momentum? Robbie Power admitted later he 'had no idea where he was in the race'. Just floated around.


    M/D. Pipe have yet to win this. 13 runners in past 14. Best has been Leo's Lucky Star 3rd 2011, Consigliere 3rd '10, Madison Du Berlais 3rd in ‘06. No runner last three years. P Nicholls produced Solar Impulse to win this in 2016, his first win since Andreas 2007 (straight after Pacha won the Foxhunters. See Momentum Theory on General Trends page and first time blinkers). Le Prezien was his beaten fav in 2017, returns to win 2018. 2019 ran Brelan D'As 3rd at 8/1, Magic Saint fav and Le Prezien. 2020 Greaneteen 5/1 in 4th couldn't repel the Irish hordes, Capeland 14th. Two runners last year, unplaced


    N Henderson has a decent recent record in the race named after his father. No runner last time. In 2020 Theinval his only runner at 10 yrs of age, 5th at 50/1. Whatwrongwithyou 7th 2019, Theinval 4th in 2018 at 16s and 3rd 2017 at 9s, again he was Nicky's only runner in each of those races. One unplaced in 2016. Kid Cassidy 2nd in 2013 from 6 (and shortest in price), 1-2 in 2012 from 6 runners. Bellvano was the fifth fancied of the 6. One of the great P Carberry rides. N Henderson has had three beaten favourites in the past 13 years. Both his winners since the name change were priced 20/1.


    9 of the last 12 English trained were course winners. Including Sky Pirate and Le Prezien but not the three before them. I know, misleading.


    RETURNING WINNERS - Repeat success hasn't been achieved since Top Twenty in 1958/59. Might be the only one ever. This century nine winners have returned the next year. Their finishing position, most recent first. 9th/9th/14th/BD/9th/5th/4th/11th/10th/PU. Sky Pirate. 8 of past 16 had run before in this race.


    JP McManus - Owned winners 2005, 2012, 2013, 2018. Also seconds in 2013, 2014, 2015 2021. Six others placed since 2003. Breslan D'As third 2019, 14 others unplaced over the last six years including Le Prezien, Champagne At Tara, Don't Touch It, and Bouvreuil who turned up in this most years. Entoucas his only runner last year. 2020 two PU both 33s One was Great Field. Just before the 2020 race Jonjo was asked at a preview night if he thought Great Field was well handicapped. Replied 'well he can't be if they're moving him to me'.


    FORM - Apart from Le Prezien (8th in 2m 5f course December H'cap chase), Rock The World (wind op after 11th in a course chase 141 days hence), Savello (9th in £50k Fairyhouse Ch) and Pigeon Island (5th of 5 at Warwick G2 Novice) every other winner since 1984 has finished in the first 4 on their latest completed chase start. Croco Bay had been 2nd, 227 days previously. Chosen Mate flew home in a Gowran Beginners. Sky Pirate 2nd of 4 to Allmankind in a Warwick G2 novice.


    22 of last 36 not outside first four on any completed run that season. Used to be a good stat. Not now. Sky Pirate had been a non staying 5th to Coole Cody in the Paddy Power. Three of the exceptions (including Chosen Mate) finished in the first 3 in their three previous runs. Rock The World' form figures before went 080. Le Prezien 238, See the Honours Board.

    23 from the last 26 top three in at least one of its last two starts. Not Rock The World, Next Sensation nor Pigeon Island. Both Rock and Next placed in this the year before they won.


    20 out of the last 26 no more than 4 times since August. Sky Pirate 5 runs, Chosen Mate only exception in the last eight. Had an unsuccessful crack at three of the big Irish h'cap hurdles before going novice chasing (other exceptions Oiseau de Nuit, Oh Crick, and Fota Island with 5, Nigel's Pigeon had 7 runs).


    Loved this stat. Wrote last year 'It's that good, its life's probably in danger.' And it was. Sky Pirate became the first since 2004 to have won that season anything other than a beginners or ungraded novices chase. None had won a handicap chase that season. Sky Pirate had won two including ione on course in December! Hiding in plain sight you might say. Entoucas tried valiantly to keep the stat going but just didn't get there. Five others tried last year, best Ibleo in third The Pirate first from 132 to succeed. Nine of the 18 strong field tried to kill it in 2020. Only two of them finished in the first seven home. Seven qualifiers in 2019, including 2nd, 5th, 6th home plus unplaced fav Magic Saint. Plots do win this.


    Novices - Eight novice winners in the past 24 races but Chosen Mate the first since Alderwood 2013, Bellvano and Carberry in 2012. Five came last year resulting in a 2nd and a 5th. (and Embittered) Five came in 2020 resulting in 1-2-4-7. 4 ran in each of the previous two years, best Brelan D'As 3rd, 2018 best Dolos in 7th, North Hill Harvey, fav, 2nd when challenging three out, fell. Three ran in 2017, best Theinval 3rd, 4 unplaced 2015. The novice joint favourites finished 2nd and 3rd in 2014, winners in 2013 and 2012, '10 1st and 2nd, '09 1st and 3rd, ’08 My Petra fav and 2nd). 13 of the other winners who were not novices had previously competed in a previous Festival chase Exceptions to all Savello and Edredon Bleu 7/2 fav. With both of those winners, the jockeys concerned, Davy Russell and AP McCoy, were on fire that day or week.


    10 of the past 13 novices or second season chasers. Plus Croco Bay. A bit cheeky as Sky Pirate was a third season novice.


    NOVICE RATINGS - 10 successful novices since 1984 Brelan D'As 136 when 3rd and Rock The World (146) 3rd when fav 2016. The novice winners have all increased in ratings. Chosen Mate was 147, Alderwood 140, Bellvano 138 rated between 129 and 135. Pigeon Island 129, Oh Crick 130. The latter two were the lowest rated novices in the race. Alderwood and Bellvano were the second lowest of the 7 novices in their year.


    Seven novices ran in 2016, Rock The World joint top rated of those. Three novices in 2017, top rated Le Prezien on 146. The four novices to run in 2018 were rated between 150 and 141. 2019 novices between 145 - 136. 2020 147 - 142. 2021 146 - 137


    Lowest rated runner to get in going back from last year were 136, 140, 134, 139, 135, 137, 130, 136. Only 20 runners allowed in the last two years.


    Those rated between 130 and 134 responsible for the winner and the second in 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008. Only 1st in 2010 and 2009. None of the first 4 in the last six years were in this band (Oiseau 145 before taking off jockeys 7lb claim). Only other two winners not in this band were '07 Andreas on 143 and Pigeon 129, both novices. Sky Pirate 152 and Le Prezien off 150 highest rated winners since My Young Man off 153 in 1992. Last ten winners rated between 138 and 152 with only two in the 130's. Rock and Savello both 147, Croco 'thrown in' off 139. Chosen Mate 147.


    Rated over 145 - First four last year 152, 143, 154, 140. Half the field 145+ All four placed in 2020 rated over 145, but only eight of the field rated below that mark. Now harder to get in. In 2019 first four ratings home were 139, 148, 136, 153. Forest Bihan in 4th was top weight. 2018 first three home rated 150, 149, 152. 2016 placed ratings included a 146 and a 150. In 2015, it was Eastlake 2nd at 145, Croco Bay 3rd at 149. Savello 147, Tanks For That 149, Oiseau 145 and 149, the three placed horses in 2010 off 154, 145 and 150 and Andreas, placed '08, only horses rated 145 plus to be placed in last 16. That's 20 from the last 84 placings but bringing it up to date, 14 from the last 24 over 145. Higher ratings definitely becoming more involved.


    PRICE - 25 from last 37 found in first five in the betting. 16 from last 25 not above 12/1. Exceptions, Sky Pirate 14s Croco Bay, 66s, Solar Impulse 40s to 28s on course, Next Sensation, Savello, Bellvano, Uncle Ernie, Greenhope, Pigeon, Oiseau 40s. Not helpful at all. In 2014 Savello was also backed, 33s to 16s in 15 minutes. (Davy Russell trebles? Or the last leg of Mr. Michael O'Leary's 50p ew Lucky 15 that day?)


    Chosen Mate at 7/2 first fav to win since Alderwood 3/1 in 2013. Before that St Pirran 2005, Samakaan 2000 and Space Trucker in '99. Only Chosen and Alderwood in the last 16 years. Due another? Only five winners from the last 11 came from the front six in the betting. Sky Pirate 6th fav.


    From Paul Ferguson's Betting Guide - last year's favourite is 3-8 in the past 14 years. Embittered. 5 from the last 15 from the front three in the market from last year's race. Look for Embittered, Chosen Mate, Entoucas, and at a pinch, Zanza.


    Only 2 beaten favourites last time out have won since 1999 from 30 qualifiers. £1 on all of them would leave you £9 behind. None ran last two years. The best qualifier in 2019 was Bun Doran 2nd. One ran in 2018, Top Gamble third at 8/1.


    Last 27 winners were not running under a penalty. No qualifiers last four years. Three last time out winners last year, best Ibleo 2nd. Six ran in the last two previous years, a 1-2 in 2020, in 2019 best Brelan D'As 3rd.


    23 out of the last 30 carried no more than 10st 13lbs. But only Croco Bay of the last seven. Had to carry 10st 11 to get in 2020. Sky Pirate 11st 6 Chosen Mate 11 4, Croco carried 10 13, Le Prezien 11 8, Rock The World 11 5, Solar Impulse 11st. Oiseau 10st 13st after jockey's 7lb allowance. Next Sensation 11 2 , Savello 11 5 first winner since '98 Edredon Bleu to carry over 11st. This mirrors the recent rise in ratings to qualify.


    Seven of the last nine not seen for at least 45 days. See the Honours Board. Sky 30, Chosen Mate 50, Croco Bay 227 days, Le Prezien 90 days, Rock The World 141 days. Solar Impulse 92. Next Sensation not out for 104 days for another breathing op. Savello 54, Before that 45 days max til at least 1990. Lots of Plots.


    Rock The World, Next Sensation (4th to Savello), Uncle Ernie and Tiger Cry only winners to improve on a placed effort in the previous Festival. Alderwood won the County and Oiseau PU in 2010 but was a previous course winner. Le Prezien 7th here in 2017, Solar Impulse 7th in the Fred Winter in 2014. Croco 3rd and 5th in previous installments of this. Sky Pirate had been 7th in a Kim Muir! Sure it was obvious. Entoucas, Ibleo, On The Slopes.


    RUNS - 20 of last 23 winners no more than 12 previous runs over fences and all were distance winners. (Sky 13 previous chases, Croco 25, Oiseau 20 previous runs - Chosen Mate 3 (and winner of G2 2m novice hurdle) Alderwood only four, Solar Impulse 10, Savello 9, Le Prezien 9).


    TRIP -17 of last 25 had won over 2m 2f +. Four others were already course winners. Le Prezien and Alderwood were both. Chosen Mate hadn't. Before Rock The World none of the previous three were either. (Savello earned the title of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival Stats Demolisher)


    11 of the last 20 were previous course winners (including 11 of the last 16). 7 others had raced before on the course, six at a previous festival. Exceptions Chosen Mate and Savello.


    14 of last 17 had run at a previous Festival, only Alderwood won (County Hurdle). 8 of the last 16 ran in the race previously, best placing achieved was third (Rock The World). Four of the last six ran in it before plus Solar Impulse, declared to run as a novice, but pulled out because of the ground.


    The past 18 winners ran in total 71 times that season. Only finished out of the frame on 21 completed runs. 3 of those each to four of the last seven winners. That stat's not working.


    BLINKERS ETC - Croco Bay (always blinkered) joined Solar Eclipse in first time blinkers, Savello (hood) and Pigeon Island (blinkers) only such winners in last 23. Four ran ran year, 7th best. Eight ran in 2020, only Us And Them (blinkered) in the first four. 2019 Eight of the nineteen in headgear, as well as Croco Bay, also Forest Bihan 4th usual cheekpieces. Nine in 2018 including 2nd, 3rd and 4th, Top Gamble 3rd in first time pieces. Six in 2017 including Theinval, 3rd, in first time cheekpieces. Only three tried in 2016 including Savello 4th. 6 tried in 2015, best Ned Buntline in 4th, 6 others tried in Savello's winning year including Ned Buntline in 2nd with a first time hood ('09, Moon Over Miami, a close 2nd, 2012 Kumbeswhar first time blinkered, 3rd, 4 unpl 2013).


    CONDITIONAL JOCKEYS - Mr. Steven Clements (7) is the only conditional winner I can find to win this in the past 36 years. 2010 Oiseau de Nuit 40s. none of the three finished in the first six last year. Sean O'Keeffe (5) fine ride to finish 2nd in 2020 on Eclair De Beaufeu. None placed 2017 to 2019. 2016 step forward Bridget Andrews (5) fourth on Savello, the only conditional riding (8 spread over the previous two years unplaced), 2013 Jeremiah McGrath (3) second on Kid Cassidy, Brendan Powell (3) third on Oiseau. 5 others unplaced. Jeremiah got the ride as P Carberry suffered an unfortunate injury. Whilst he did well to finish second, IMO I would have been surprised if P Carberry would have, three out, taken it up the on the Kid.



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Wealth Warning.  Any decisions made (or not) or the basis of any information in this site are the sole responsibility of the reader.  There is no obligation on me to follow my own advice.  I take no responsibility for (but am keen to hear of) any factual errors.  (Bgault01@gmail.com, @gaultstats). Previous years ‘stats on stats’ would suggest we may identify a decent priced winner from manageable groups every three or four races.  It is believed that Savello (2014 Grand Annual) took from Golden Chieftain (2013 3m hcap chase) the record for breaking the most stats in a race.  Stands now at 8.  Cole Harden equalised with 8 in the 2015 World Hurdle.  Remember, after you have cursed/laughed at me and given up totally on trends, they will come back to bite.  Always happens.  Usually on Gold Cup Day. 

Beware GO SEA - Groundless Optimism Syndrome Encouaged by Alcohol.  A Cotswold condition very common at this time of year.